Friday, January 27, 2012

Newsletter from the Oratory


2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
January 26, 2012


Dear Faithful and Friends of St. Francis de Sales Oratory,


His Eminence, Raymond Cardinal Burke

Next Tuesday, January 31, 2012, the Institute of Christ the King and the entire community at St. Francis de Sales Oratory will have the great honor and pleasure of welcoming Raymond Cardinal Burke to the Oratory. His Eminence will be the celebrant of a Solemn Benediction at 5:00 PM. Following the liturgical ceremony, there will be a reception in honor of Cardinal Burke in the Oratory Hall. Everyone is welcome and cordially invited to greet His Eminence on this joyful occasion.

Bishop Rice (left), Cardinal Burke (center), Archbishop Carlson (right)
at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis 2011.

It was nearly one year ago, on January 8, 2011, that Cardinal Burke celebrated with us a Solemn Te Deum in thanksgiving for His Eminence’ elevation to the College of Cardinals by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI. We are grateful for this opportunity to renew our pledge of prayers for the Cardinal as we unite our hearts in Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament.


Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Rice
With joyful anticipation, the Oratory announces that the conferral of the Sacrament of Confirmation at St. Francis de Sales Oratory has been scheduled for Saturday, October 20, 2010 at 10:30 AM. With Archbishop Robert Carlson’s gracious permission, the Most Reverend Edward M. Rice, Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis, will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Extraordinary Form, and offer a Pontifical High Mass.

Confirmation 2010

We are most grateful to Bishop Rice for his fatherly care on the occasion of this important milestone in the lives of the faithful of the Oratory. It will be a highlight in the liturgical life of the Oratory community!


Saint Francis de Sales

This coming Sunday we will celebrate the feast of our holy patron, Saint Francis de Sales. The Bishop of Geneva, Doctor of the Universal Church, patron of writers and journalists, patron of the deaf, Doctor of Charity is one of the co-patrons of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Saint Francis is an inexhaustible source of the treasures of divine grace. He preaches to us in a loving and fatherly way, with the mild voice of a wise and forgiving teacher who knows how to guide us to the high mountains of heavenly happiness. Read this “Pledge of a Soul”, the “hearty protest made with the object of confirming the soul’s resolution to serve God, as a conclusion to its acts of penitence”. Who would deny our patron saint to follow him in this strong vow to love God above all things?
A hearty Protest made with the object of confirming the Soul’s resolution to serve God, as a conclusion to its acts of Penitence:

I, THE undersigned,—in the Presence of God and of all the company of Heaven, having considered the Infinite Mercy of His Heavenly Goodness towards me, a most miserable, unworthy creature, whom He has created, preserved, sustained, delivered from so many dangers, and filled with so many blessings: having above all considered the incomprehensible mercy and loving-kindness with which this most Good God has borne with me in my sinfulness, leading me so tenderly to repentance, and waiting so patiently for me till this—(present) year of my life, notwithstanding all my ingratitude, disloyalty and faithlessness, by which I have delayed turning to Him, and despising His Grace, have offended Him anew: and further, remembering that in my Baptism I was solemnly and happily dedicated to God as His child, and that in defiance of the profession then made in my name, I have so often miserably profaned my gifts, turning them against God’s Divine Majesty:—I, now coming to myself prostrate in heart and soul before the Throne of His Justice, acknowledge and confess that I am duly accused and convicted of treason against His Majesty, and guilty of the Death and Passion of Jesus Christ, by reason of the sins I have committed, for which He died, bearing the reproach of the Cross; so that I deserve nothing else save eternal damnation.

But turning to the Throne of Infinite Mercy of this Eternal God, detesting the sins of my past life with all my heart and all my strength, I humbly desire and ask grace, pardon, and mercy, with entire absolution from my sin, in virtue of the Death and Passion of that same Lord and Redeemer, on Whom I lean as the only ground of my hope. I renew the sacred promise of faithfulness to God made in my name at my Baptism; renouncing the devil, the world, and the flesh, abhorring their accursed suggestions, vanities and lusts, now and for all eternity. And turning to a Loving and Pitiful God, I desire, intend, and deliberately resolve to serve and love Him now and eternally, devoting my mind and all its faculties, my soul and all its powers, my heart and all its affections, my body and all its senses, to His Will. I resolve never to misuse any part of my being by opposing His Divine Will and Sovereign Majesty, to which I wholly immolate myself in intention, vowing ever to be His loyal, obedient and faithful servant without any change or recall. But if unhappily, through the promptings of the enemy, or human infirmity, I should in anywise fail in this my resolution and dedication, I do most earnestly resolve by the grace of the Holy Spirit to rise up again so soon as I shall perceive my fall, and turn anew, without any delay, to seek His Divine Mercy. This is my firm will and intention,—my inviolable, irrevocable resolution, which I make and confirm without any reserve, in the Holy Presence of God, in the sight of the Church triumphant, and before the Church militant, which is my mother, who accepts this my declaration, in the person of him who, as her representative, hears me make it. Be pleased, O Eternal, All-Powerful, and All-Loving God,—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to confirm me in this my resolution, and accept my hearty and willing offering. And inasmuch as Thou hast been pleased to inspire me with the will to make it, give me also the needful strength and grace to keep it. O God, Thou art my God, the God of my heart, my soul, and spirit, and as such I acknowledge and adore Thee, now and for all eternity. Glory be to Jesus. Amen.


Reverend Peter J. Lotz,
Pastor of St. Francis de Sales, 1878-1903
The new parish began to grow rapidly and in the year 1869 it included not only a church and a rectory but even a new school. Differences however, between the pastor and his parishioners soon began to grow and make themselves felt, so that Father Lay resigned his pastorate in the summer of 1869, and accepted a parish in the diocese of LaCrosse, Wisconsin. After his departure, the Franciscan Fathers of St. Anthony's parish in south St. Louis administered our parish until the following September.

The second pastor, Reverend Father Peter Wigger, was then assigned to St. Francis de Sales. He had at that time just recent1y arrived from Germany. Despite the poor financial situation of the parish, he saw the need for a larger school building to take care of the great increase in the number of school children.

He purchased the property on Ohio Avenue bordering the church, and a three story school building was erected in 1872. It contained a residence for the Sisters, four large classrooms and a spacious hall. The school building was erected at the cost of $10,520.00.

The first assistant pastor came to St. Francis de Sales in 1875 in the person of Father Joseph Schroeder. The second assistant was Father J, W. Guenther, who was succeeded by Father John Peter Lotz in June 1876.

The “Girls’ Grade School” building, now known as the “1888 Building"

Father Wigger's health worsened seriously in those days, so much so that on March 11, 1878 he passed away. Father Lotz, who was Assistant Pastor at the time, immediately took charge of the parish and became eventually the third pastor. His first energies were directed toward the paying off of the debt of $30,000.00, created by building the new school. Five years later in 1883, he decided to enlarge the old church by adding a new sanctuary and a bell tower. Again five years later new demands for more school accommodations for the ever-growing parish were made. Father Lotz answered these pressing requests by building in 1888 our present grade school building. The cornerstone of this school was laid on June 10, 1888 by Archbishop Peter Kenrick, and on its completion it was designated as the "Girls' School." In the course of time this school building also served for a number of years as the high school and then again in recent years [1960s] as the parish grade school.


Mrs. Gretchen Clinton, responsible for the "Scrip-Program" at Saint Francis de Sales Oratory shares with the following recent news:
Thank you so very much to all of the people who are making the new scrip program a fundraising success!

The Oratory has scrip available for immediate purchase at the rectory or after both Sunday Masses from the following retailers:
Dierbergs - Shop-n-Save - Starbuck's - St. Louis Bread Company
JCPenny -Walmart/Sam's Club - Macy's - Land's End -LLBean
Lowe’s - Burger King - Walgreen's - CVS - Bob Evans - JoAnn Fabric
Little Ceaser's - Shell - Payless Shoes - American Express Gift cards
Subway - Taco Bell - Bob Evans and many others

By shopping with Scrip at the retailers you already frequent, a percentage of the money you spend is contributed to the Oratory.

Here are some answers to a few frequently asked scrip questions:

1. Exactly how does the Oratory make money from this program?
Through the Great Lakes Scrip Company, the Oratory purchases these cards at a reduced rate.
For example: Shop n Save offers percent 4% rebate. The Oratory buys the card for only $96. You pay $100 (you were going to spend it anyway!). The Oratory instantly earns $4.00. Think of the rebate percentage like an instant cash coupon that goes directly to the Oratory.

2. When is this program going to end?
It will not end. It is a year-round, ongoing fundraiser. Many other churches and organizations have had this program going for many years. The more participation equals more revenue.

3. Some of the retailers offer such a small percentage, why bother?
If you shop at Walmart and they handed you $2.00 for the Oratory every time you spent $100 there, would you refuse it? Certainly not! As soon as you purchase a scrip card to Walmart, the Oratory has earned that $2.00 from Walmart. The gas station is the same. Every dollar adds up. 100 families earning only $1.00 over the course of a year is $1,200. The potential is incredible.

4. What if I shop somewhere that is not on the list?
The American Express Gift Card is available. It is taken at Trader Joe's, QT, the commissary (for you military folks), and at many other locations.

5. But the American Express Gift Card only offers 1.5% back! Why should I use it?
Please see QUESTION #3 and buy some American Express gift cards for all of those other places! You can also use it at Schnucks to have even greater rewards!
To purchase or for questions about the program, please contact Mrs. Gretchen Clinton and (573) 241-5259 or the Oratory at (314) 771-3100.

Scrip order forms are available at rectory, church basement after Sunday Mass and in the bulletins.
You may also place an order online at The Oratory’s code is7B6B613B29666

Here is the calendar of liturgical events for the coming weeks. With the beginning of February we will approach the seasons of Septuagesima and Lent, well prepared by the celebration of the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin (Candlemas):

Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Thursday, February 2 - Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary 8am Low Mass and 6:30pm High Mass with blessing of the candles and procession
Dom Prosper Guéranger, OSB, in his "Liturgical Year":
“The mystery of today's ceremony has frequently been explained by liturgists, dating from the 7th century. According to Ivo of Chartres, the wax, which is formed from the juice of flowers by the bee, always considered as the emblem of virginity, signifies the virginal flesh of the Divine Infant, who diminished not, either by His conception or His birth, the spotless purity of His Blessed Mother. The same holy bishop would have us see, in the flame of our Candle, a symbol of Jesus who came to enlighten our darkness. St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, speaking on the same mystery, bids us consider three things in the blessed Candle: the wax, the wick, and the flame. The wax, he says, which is the production of the virginal bee, is the Flesh of our Lord; the wick, which is within, is His Soul; the flame, which burns on top, is His divinity.”
Friday, February 3 - St. Blaise blessing of throats after both 8am and 6:30pm Masses.
February 5 to March 25 - Sermons in Lent: The Beatitudes
Between February 5 (Septuagesima), and March 25 (Passion-Sunday) we will again offer sermons which are meant to be of help in our spiritual preparation for the great feast of Easter. This year Canon Avis, Father Herman and I intend to cover the Beatitudes as they are mentioned by Our Lord in the sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-10). The beatitudes are not only pronouncements of future perfections, but expressions of a state of the soul in unity with divine life.

This year’s sermon schedule is as follows:
February 5:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
February 12:
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth."
February 19:
"Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
February 26:
"Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied."
March 4:
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."
March 11:
"Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God."
March 18:
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God."
March 25:
"Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice's sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Wednesday, February 22 - Ash-Wednesday


Photo Credit: Mr. Phil Roussin

The mystery photo for this week shows a dove you have seen at church, likely many times. As a symbol of the Holy Ghost, the placement of this decoration inside the church is significant.

In the Gospels, the dove is a typical symbol of the Holy Ghost, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Ghost descended upon Him in the form of a dove. In Christian art, the dove is often used to portray the Holy Ghost, as in the descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost.

Where have you seen this particular dove at St. Francis de Sales? Tell us where this dove can be found by visiting our restoration website,, and enter your answer in theblog combox.

With the assurance of my grateful prayers in Christ the King,

Canon Michael K. WienerRector, Saint Francis de Sales Oratory

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